Calling Bike Mechs

telemnemonics

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Thanks for all the advice folks, it has put me at greater ease. I decided to just ride on these wheels while keeping an eye out for a good deal on an upgrade down the road. It handled well today over 15 mile ride through the worst hills I could find to rebuild leg strength. I did better than expected, but it is supposed to be over 100 degrees much of next week and I will gladly pay any gas price to not ride in that kind of heat.

You are so right telemnemonics about what people say that you must do or not do with bikes. I had one rider come up on me today and lecture me about still using flat pedals. He ranted for several minutes about how much easier and faster the ride would be if I used clipless pedals, but I never agreed with that.

There has never been an engineering study to support the claim that being clipped to the pedal increases downward force nor revolutions. What it does do is make sure that your foot placement is always the same and that you don't slip off the pedal. I can see that value in racing, but really not much else. I use crankbrothers 5050 flat pedals with threaded barbs to keep my shoe from slipping off. They spin smoothly and I have never slipped off the pedal once while wearing a stiff soled trail running shoe. I see no reason to change.
I use old time toe clips with regular shoes.
Platform pedals have gotten better too if you like them but I just love certain vintage classics and have old Campy Super Record pedals on one bike.
You do get some pull up power with toe clips (and clipless/cleats) but I use them out of habit.
Also I cant stand shoes with clipless cleat clips on the bottom.
One advantage is you can hop curbs or obstacles like sewer grates if your feet can lift the bike.
If we arent racers it should be fun.
 

oregomike

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There has been a few threads lately regarding bicycles and so I thought I would roll the dice to see if we had any bike mechanics in the house?

I am putting some final touches on my bike in preparations for workday commuting a few times per week. It is a 7 year old Surly Long Haul Trucker, but it had some mods done to it to shave some weight and make it more group ride friendly by the previous owner. Simple stuff like upgraded bar, gossamer crankset, upgraded brakes, a Brooks saddle, F/R racks, and the Mavic cxp 33 wheel set. I've ridden this bike for years now on casual rides of about 10-12 miles, but nothing loaded nor longer.

My work commute would consist of 40 miles round-trip with some really bad hills, so I wanted to make certain the bike was up to the challenge. I am not a big bike guy so I didn't really know what all the specs meant until I started doing some research. Over-all, seems to be well equipped for my needs and it had a full tune up a year ago before putting into storage, but there was one glaring issue....those Mavic cxp 33 wheels and my tires (Continental Tour).

The Mavic wheels are a 700c wheel and I have always run the same size tire that was on it when I purchased the bike (35mm wide). After researching the specs, I came to realize that the Mavic cxp 33 is only listed as suitable for a max width of 28mm and isn't really heavy duty enough for loaded riding. I don't carry much on my rides except spare tubes, tools, water, change of socks, a jacket if needed, etc., but I am a heavy load at 215 lbs.

So, now I am a bit worried about the wheel situation. There are no visible cracks around the spokes or anything, but it would seem that 35mm is way outside the 28mm limit set by the factory. I just don't know if that factory limit is just an outdated COA suggestion or if it is a real world stop sign?

What do you think? Do I replace the tires with 28 mm? Do I upgrade to better wheels and keep the 35mm or maybe even go up to a 40mm? Hell, maybe I am better off selling this bike and just buying a new Surly Disc Trucker instead to gain disc brakes? What about tubless tires?

Just a little confused right now and sort of wish I just remained ignorant about the whole thing.
Lazy 20 year bike mechanic here needs some brevity. ;)
 

KeithDavies 100

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Lovely looking bike. I'd echo @chris m. about clipless pedals. I got back into cycling a couple of years ago and was eventually persuaded to try them. They were an absolute revelation in terms of how much more power you can put through the wheels without any apparent extra effort. (Someone from the physics department is going to tell me that's not possible, but that's certainly what it feels like.) For a distance commute, I'd say it will make it significantly easier/quicker.

And yes, you will, at some point, roll to a halt, forget to unclip and topple over. It's embarrassing, but apparently everyone does it once! :)
 

chris m.

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Clipless pedals are indeed more efficient, but I would never use them commuting. I have Raceface Chester's on all of my bikes (mountain, road, and BMX race).
If you use mountain bike shoes and pedals you can still walk in them fine. I keep regular shoes at work and switch when I get there.

As far as physics goes, if you aren't attached to the pedal you can't really pull up very much, so you are using one leg instead of two to make a revolution of the cranks. However, with the little bolts coming out of pedals like Chesters, if you have the right treads on your shoes you can pull up somewhat, up to a point-- up to somewhere around 8' or 9'o'clock on the crank revolution. Even if you can only push with one leg, such as on the truly flat pedals of a beach cruiser, it is important to remember to at least actively raise your other leg so your pushing leg doesn't have to also fight against the dead weight of your other leg.
 

jvin248

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Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

Ride the wheels off the bike you have then get new ones that you fear less.
Quite likely you will 'tire' of the commute before the current set gets worn out.
+1 stay with tubes.

You could always try the canoe commute next!




.
 

ale.istotle

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@Milspec Enough people have chimed in on the rims/tires situation - probably fine. I'll just add - I'd make sure you don't let the pressure get low because you may run a higher risk of a pinch-flat with wide tire on narrow rim.

The commute. Have you tried it yet? I'd strongly recommend doing a weekend dry-run with all your gear and bags. The traffic won't be the same but you'll get a preview of how your rig holds up and how you hold up. Particularly important is whether your cargo is secure. I used to bike commute sporadically about 20 Mi round trip. Leave early in the morning and you'll get the benefit of less traffic. Coming home you'll hit traffic anytime from 330 to 630 so be prepared for that. I also used to think out my left turns and tried to avoid them if I could. The best riding route may not be the same as your driving route.

When I started out I did alternate days so I could leave clothes at the office for the next day, etc. Good luck!
 

telemnemonics

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If you use mountain bike shoes and pedals you can still walk in them fine. I keep regular shoes at work and switch when I get there.

As far as physics goes, if you aren't attached to the pedal you can't really pull up very much, so you are using one leg instead of two to make a revolution of the cranks. However, with the little bolts coming out of pedals like Chesters, if you have the right treads on your shoes you can pull up somewhat, up to a point-- up to somewhere around 8' or 9'o'clock on the crank revolution. Even if you can only push with one leg, such as on the truly flat pedals of a beach cruiser, it is important to remember to at least actively raise your other leg so your pushing leg doesn't have to also fight against the dead weight of your other leg.
Not many still use the old toe clips but I love them.
These both have nice vintage Campy pedals in vintage Italian lugged steel racing frames with short wheelbase.
Toes can hit front tires.
We can’t help what we love though of course we can cheat if we want to!
These frames would have been 10-12 speed on freewheel but I converted to 27 speed indexed on 9 speed freehubs
With titanium large cogs, plus mtn bike bars and XTR shifters but Dura Ace road brakes
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2D719FEC-9F51-4BB5-A761-580ECC222DD1.jpeg
5C604225-AB2F-49DE-9838-1C749F2FD037.jpeg
 

jays0n

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Lots of good advice in here. Just ride em til they break but being possibly 40 miles from home a lot, carry a lot of repair stuff. Extra tube and lots of patches. An extra spoke, or two, a little heavy duty tape, bunch of zip ties. When I was commuting on my bike I had to do some crazy roadside repairs to get home.

I use commuter specific tires, that have the layer below the rubber to prevent glass, nails etc from getting through. I also use tubes with a removable valve stem and pour a little Stans tubeless sealant inside the tube. If there is a puncture, it gets sealed for a while at least. Those two things stopped about 80% of my unplanned pit stops while commuting.

Oh and I have never checked the rating of my wheels when fitting tires. If they stay on the rim, I just rice em till they don’t :)

Have fun, and wear yer helmet.

j
 

Milspec

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@Milspec Enough people have chimed in on the rims/tires situation - probably fine. I'll just add - I'd make sure you don't let the pressure get low because you may run a higher risk of a pinch-flat with wide tire on narrow rim.

The commute. Have you tried it yet? I'd strongly recommend doing a weekend dry-run with all your gear and bags. The traffic won't be the same but you'll get a preview of how your rig holds up and how you hold up. Particularly important is whether your cargo is secure. I used to bike commute sporadically about 20 Mi round trip. Leave early in the morning and you'll get the benefit of less traffic. Coming home you'll hit traffic anytime from 330 to 630 so be prepared for that. I also used to think out my left turns and tried to avoid them if I could. The best riding route may not be the same as your driving route.

When I started out I did alternate days so I could leave clothes at the office for the next day, etc. Good luck!
I am testing the route on Sunday. I have been driving it all week at the start times that I would see and thus far, there is very little traffic minus some farmer and truck traffic. It is actually a pretty scenic ride, but it does not have much of a shoulder...that concerns me. It is a well maintained lesser highway, but only has about a foot worth of shoulder on 70% of the course.

Right now, my loosely laid plan is to keep it to just 2 days (Wed. and Sat) because Thursdays are our lightest work load day and I always have Sunday off to recover. I remain confident that I still have the fitness to do it, but it might be just a little too far for practicality.
 

telemnemonics

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By "only a foot of shoulder" do you mean pavement outside the lane edge line?
With a dropoff to dirt?
That can be dangerous with distracted drivers, do you have a rear view mirror?
I have the same foot of pavement then dirt in my town and find a LH mirror helps a lot.
I run road tires but on the wider side like yours and it helps when you do have to hit the dirt to avoid a moron!
 

Milspec

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By "only a foot of shoulder" do you mean pavement outside the lane edge line?
With a dropoff to dirt?
That can be dangerous with distracted drivers, do you have a rear view mirror?
I have the same foot of pavement then dirt in my town and find a LH mirror helps a lot.
I run road tires but on the wider side like yours and it helps when you do have to hit the dirt to avoid a moron!
Yes, it falls off to dirt like you described. I do ride with a left side helmet mirror for the reasons you mentioned.

My other option is taking the busy highway to my South that replaced the other one in popularity. It has a real wide shoulders (about 4 feet) all the way, but they cut expansion joints every 20 feet that are nearly 3 inches wide. The last time I rode on those shoulders it was like riding over train tracks every few seconds. That highway also gets a ton of traffic, so I think I will stick with first choice despite the lack of shoulder.
 

ale.istotle

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Yes, it falls off to dirt like you described. I do ride with a left side helmet mirror for the reasons you mentioned.

My other option is taking the busy highway to my South that replaced the other one in popularity. It has a real wide shoulders (about 4 feet) all the way, but they cut expansion joints every 20 feet that are nearly 3 inches wide. The last time I rode on those shoulders it was like riding over train tracks every few seconds. That highway also gets a ton of traffic, so I think I will stick with first choice despite the lack of shoulder.
Yeah, that‘s a tough call between busy with wide shoulder and quiet with no real shoulder. If it is straight i would do the quieter road. If it‘s twisty there is a dilemma.
 

Stanford Guitar

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I know it’s sacrilegious among many cyclist, but have you considered an electric pedal assist bike? You could get more miles/days in and a more consistent workout. 40miles a day with hills, wind, weather is no small thing on a bike.
 

Colo Springs E

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Lovely looking bike. I'd echo @chris m. about clipless pedals. I got back into cycling a couple of years ago and was eventually persuaded to try them. They were an absolute revelation in terms of how much more power you can put through the wheels without any apparent extra effort. (Someone from the physics department is going to tell me that's not possible, but that's certainly what it feels like.) For a distance commute, I'd say it will make it significantly easier/quicker.

And yes, you will, at some point, roll to a halt, forget to unclip and topple over. It's embarrassing, but apparently everyone does it once! :)

Definitely more efficient, but I hate them. Nothing but platform pedals for me. I do not like the locked in aspect of clipless. To be fair, my riding style is fairly casual, relatively short commutes of 10-20 miles, not pushing myself etc.
 

KeithDavies 100

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Definitely more efficient, but I hate them. Nothing but platform pedals for me. I do not like the locked in aspect of clipless. To be fair, my riding style is fairly casual, relatively short commutes of 10-20 miles, not pushing myself etc.
I got back into cycling because I was tempted by a charity bike ride in Zambia, where I grew up. The idea of going 50 years back in time and riding a bike again through the African bush made me cry! (In the end, the pandemic cancelled the whole thing, but never mind!) I hadn't really ridden since my teens, but how hard could it be? Cliche - it's just like riding a bike! Riding a bike is literally the metaphor of something you will always be able to slip right back into.

I was living on the island of Guernsey at the time. I got a bike, and headed out for the first day, and it was like being young again. It was great - the wind on my face, brilliant. I rode from my house down to the coast - never far away in Guernsey; the island is tiny! - and was thinking yes, I'm straight back into this, like I've never been away. Just fantastic.

Then it gradually occurred to me that riding from anywhere to a coast is inevitably downhill, on balance. This became particularly apparent as I tried to cycle home again! I ground to a halt on a hill, and had to get off. My legs were like jelly. I could hardly stand up, and thought
I was going to throw up. I crawled my way home, went for a lie down, and tried not to regret what I'd signed up for.

I confessed my plight to a couple of lovely friends/colleagues who were both keen cyclists - Conor and Dermot - and they took me under their wing and organised a training schedule. Over the next few months I lost almost 20kg!

The south end of Guernsey has some really steep hills. Not that long - because, again, the island is so small - but really steep, and therefore great for training on. Grind your way up one, circle round the lanes a little, fly back down to the coast, and attack the hill again.

I was using toe clips, because that's what I'd had as a teen. Conor and Dermot kept saying fine, but clipless pedals will be SO much more efficient. I said yes, but then I can't put my foot down, and I'll fall off. They said yes, but everyone does that, it's a rite of passage, and you only do it once! Not much comfort!

Anyway, I finally - particularly in light of the incredibly fast progress they had helped me make - bowed to their expertise and gave them a try. I put them on the bike, and went out on my own, just round the block as it were. My goodness - the acceleration!

The next time I went out with the guys I was heading up those hills without having to drop gears as far as previously. Absolutely brilliant.

I'd been using them about a month, I think, and I came down a hill to a junction. Dermot was ahead of me and had stopped at the junction, for a car. I slowed, but felt I could simply pull out behind the car. However, the car slowed unpredictably - was turning without indicating - and I thought I was going to run into the side of him. I was barely moving, but I squeezed the brakes and came to a stop. I went to put my foot down and in that split-second forgot to do the little twist that is all that's necessary to disengage, and I simply toppled slowly over!

I was more embarrassed than hurt. Grazed my knee and my left hand. Hopeless!

Admittedly, that could have been worse in traffic or whatever. After that, though, I got into the habit, as I noticed Dermot and Conor did, of automatically twisting to unclip whenever they approached a junction.

So for me, anyway, conversion was relatively problem-free, and the experience of using them was overwhelmingly positive, particularly for trying to do either hills or considerable distance. At the same time, I can absolutely understand why someone wouldn't want to use them!
 




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